Hiring virtual medical assistants can help your healthcare enterprise run more economically and seamlessly. While virtual assistants don’t replace medical staff in your healthcare enterprise, they can help you improve process efficiencies and reduce the administrative burden on your medical team. Since the back-end processing is taken care of, your staff has additional time and energy to focus on the patient experience.
Who is a Virtual Medical Assistant?
A virtual medical assistant (VMA) is a helping hand who doesn’t have a desk within the premises of your medical practice but works from a remote location. Virtual medical assistants are trained in the administrative processes of healthcare organizations and typically coordinate with clients through HIPAA compliant cloud-based software. So, you can be assured that when you hire a virtual medical assistant team, your digital assets are not compromised.
Some of the services that virtual medical assistants provide include (but are not limited to) –
Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Medical Assistant
If you own a solo or group medical practice or manage a large healthcare enterprise, the following are the benefits of hiring a professionally trained and experienced virtual medical assistant team.
1. It gives you more time to deliver quality patient care.
Many health practitioners find it challenging to dedicate enough time to their patients because of the many non-clinical tasks they must perform throughout a workday. You can probably relate to that. Hiring a virtual medical assistant will get a great deal of those non-clinical tasks off your workload. With your virtual medical assistant team taking care of the daily routine back-end tasks, you and your medical staff can focus on attending to patients. VMAs also help you improve the patient experience by offering text, chat, or phone support for your patients.
2. Lowers administrative costs
Apart from saving time, one significant benefit of hiring a VMA is saving money. Your operating costs are significantly lower when you hire a virtual medical assistant than hiring a full-time in-house employee. You don’t need to set up an office space or worry about things like computers and phones for your virtual medical assistant.
You know that some days at the clinic are slow with little or no activities whereas, other days, you are amid a bevy of activities. With a VMA, you only pay for work done, unlike a full-time staff who receives a fixed salary regardless of the number of work hours.
The money you save by hiring a VMA team can be utilized for more critical expenditures (such as equipment upgrades at your medical practice or hiring a HIPAA audit consultant).
3. Improves process efficiencies
Besides saving time and money by hiring a virtual medical assistant to support your medical practice, your patient relations will improve. For instance, patient records and medical history can be digitally recorded by your VMA, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the patient’s medical history so that they don’t have to repeat certain information. Patients, therefore, feel more at ease with your medical practice because your processes exude professionalism.
Also, your patients are more likely to keep their appointment because of the VMA’s routine follow-ups on appointment reminders via email or calls. Other VMA-handled tasks like insurance eligibility verification will ensure that your staff can accurately communicate the cost of medical service to the patients. As a result, patients will be better prepared to make payments for out-of-pocket expenses. All of this will improve your practice revenues.
4. Enhances in-house staff productivity
After delegating tasks like data entry, claims submission, and generating patient statements to the virtual medical assistants, your in-house medical staff can focus on their core patient care tasks. The improved staff productivity across the board will lead to better patient satisfaction scores, translating to higher HCAHPS scores for your healthcare enterprise and higher reimbursements.
5. Access non-clinical task expertise
You have different departments, and your healthcare enterprise needs various tasks to be handled optimally. But then, employing just one person to assist all the departments won’t be efficient because the execution of these tasks demands various skills. A VMA service provider has highly skilled professionals who are proficient in specific tasks – such as credentialing, claims to process, and report generation. With a VMA, you get professional support in every department of your practice at a fraction of the cost of hiring full-time staff.
6. Free up time for rest
You know how important it is to rest and recoup, but no one fails to relax more than those in the healthcare industry. It is understandable because you are likely engrossed with saving the lives of others. But to be of maximum help to your patients, you and your staff must be in excellent physical and mental health.
Hiring a virtual medical assistant will get a lot of non-clinical tasks off your workload, freeing up some time for you to participate in non-work-related activities – hobbies, timeout with friends and family, and much-needed sleep. A reliable virtual medical assistant will help you and your staff achieve a healthy work-life balance and avoid burnout.
Is there a Flip Side to Hiring a Virtual Medical Assistant?
Many healthcare organizations invest in virtual medical assistants to streamline patient care and improve the patient experience. The reason is simple: the pros outweigh the cons. However, hiring a VMA for your practice requires you to pay close attention to their skill set; this will directly affect the benefits to your healthcare organization. Therefore, the virtual provider’s reputation and experience handling tasks for your specialty are vital.
Since the VMAs are not within the premises of your clinic, you will communicate with them remotely via the internet. But an internet outage can immediately cut off access to your VMA team. Ensure to hire a virtual medical assistant team that is also accessible via phone and text.
One of the biggest concerns of any healthcare organization is data compromise. With VMAs getting access to patient records outside of your practice’s network, it is understandable when security concerns come up. The HHS.gov clearly points to specific rules that apply to both vendors of public health records and third-party service providers. So, ensure that the service provider you work with has the necessary firewalls and data handling protocols.
The Elite Offshore Resources virtual assistant team is compliant with HIPAA guidelines on patient data handling and billing processes. Our staff is accessible via email, text, and phone. We can help streamline and improve patient care at your practice with a virtual assistance task force starting as low as $5 an hour. Contact us today to set up your virtual medical assistance team.